HAMILTON, ON, May 24, 2019 – Today’s surprise announcement that Torstar will eliminate 178 pressroom and inserting jobs at the Hamilton Spectator is another sign that local news in Canada needs help to survive, says the union representing many of those workers.
“A large number of economically disadvantaged workers who rely on their Spec job will be left in the cold,” said Paul Morse, president of Unifor Local 87-M, representing 72 part-time inserters affected by the pressroom and inserting centre closure. “Many were in tears when managers informed them on the pressroom floor at 3 a.m. this morning.”
The Hamilton Spectator newsroom and sales department will not be affected by the press centre closure.
Local news is in crisis, and that impacts all Canadians, Morse said. The federal government has taken a first step to support local news through promised tax and charitable status measures, but more is necessary, he said.
“If large swaths of Canada lose their newspapers, TV and radio news programs, then our communities, economy and even our democracy are imperiled. How will you know about local sports, local development, crime, job opportunities, questionable government or business actions? Local news is everything you care about.”
Unifor Local 87-M represents 221 members at the Hamilton Spectator among 1,800 media workers across southern Ontario, including at the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail. Unifor is Canada’s largest private-sector union with more than 315,000 members in all sector of the economy, including over 12,000 in media.